By Kevin D. Johnson, Jr.
These days Social Media is at the top of most company’s marketing plans. However, old fashioned eye contact, common courtesy, and a hand shake can still go a long way. This combination can warrant a great deal of success if done properly.
In this post the reference to “Outbound Marketing” will refer to tradeshows and marketing event (booth set ups).
Companies, small businesses must understand that when you comprise a team to work the booth at a tradeshow (any event) they are essentially on the frontline. These are the people that interact with potential clients first. In a lot of cases they are merely lead generators that scan the badges and retrieve information about the prospective companies. However, the first interaction and hopefully human connection is with those who run the booth. They are what I call “impression setters” (one who leaves an impression on a person about a particular company) this as an extremely important role.
In some cases a sales person that didn’t attend the show will contact the attendee via email and/or by phone. If a potential client sends a follow up email with information about their company to the “impression setter” and they don’t reply, this can be problematic. The protocol for a sales person traditionally is to try to set up a demo with the attendee online or talk about their services or product. The actions of the person in the booth can position the sales rep behind the eight ball. Those actions can be the difference between someone going with that company or a competitor. God forbid the “impression setter” merely replies to this individual’s email or likes their Facebook page. This could be the difference between making a quota or not, as well as improving the financial growth of the company.
The “something for nothing” approach isn’t a wise one to take. The idea that the potential client is brushed off or not responded to by the person that is running the booth can be off setting, especially when this same company’s reps want to demand a portion of the decision maker’s day. This is a new competitive business climate and any extra leg up or differentiation that can be produced from the outset only positions the small business better. It’s understandable that the people in the booth might feel that it’s not in their job description to engage the potential client past the initial interaction. Perhaps it should be, in certain circumstances, such as what’s being alluded to. The human connection is key and if the potential patron feels like there was a special moment shared or a commonality was discovered, they will remember that person. Not acknowledging this individual can put the sales representative in a challenging position to close the deal. Even if the booth staff member just exchanges pleasantries and explains that they aren’t the contact person, a willingness to forward the information to the appropriate party would be appreciated. If an approach similar to this is taken, the decision maker is better “teed up” for the sales person and can keep them in the game.
Working a booth is more than just shaking hands and kissing babies. A simple reply could be the necessary push that the sales team needs. Rely on the humanistic instinct more so than a robotic, I don’t venture out of my booth approach. At the end of the day, treat people the way in which you want to be serviced when you make your buying decisions. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Kevin D. Johnson, Jr. is CEO of NorthStarr Media Group.